Finally, I am back to blogging – my first post in a year,  I would say seeing how the last one was Michael talking about the maple syrup trees in Sugarbush when we were here house hunting last March.  Wow, it has been a year and the maple syrup trees are producing again – can’t wait to taste it.  Before I do that though I should probably get to the actual theme of this blog which could in a round about way include maple syrup.

I was looking at my Animal Party quilt the other day at Simcoe Sew & Quilt where it is hanging and thought I could do something else with those cute little animals. Ruth made bibs with them; so I thought why not placemats to decorate a child’s place at the table.  I figured sure I could whip up a couple of those in no time.  Well, the time turned into a whole day as I took forever to pick the fabrics and then I was interrupted a few times and then it was time for bed.  Leaving the binding for today though was a fantastic idea since it was absolutely gorgeous outside; so I sat on the deck and enjoyed the sun and warmth as I sewed the binding in place.

First of all I had to come up with a pattern to incorporate both the four patch star block and an appliqué animal.  I tried designing something on EQ7 but it wasn’t working so well so went back to the tried and true method of pencil, ruler and paper – oh don’t forget the eraser, definitely a must have when I am designing.

Once the design was secured I went to the cupboard with all the bright coloured fabrics – so many to choose from but eventually I whittled the selection down to 12 fabrics for the blocks, one fabric for the star and binding and the black for the sashing was easy with the bright spots on it to go with all the other fabrics.

Such fun, bright colours.

After measuring and cutting everything it was time to sew – soon all of my pieces were starting to look like something.  A star or two were well into development.

All those star points waiting to be made into stars.

 Look at all those points!

 Points made the stars and blocks came together very quickly.

Two perfect stars.

Now that the blocks were made came the most difficult part of all – deciding which animals I should use – I had to choose two from the thirteen – definitely not easy.  I was able to eliminate the frog and fish right away though as Ruth had used them on her bibs and I figured why not use different ones.  I had this awesome fabric with gradated bright colour and figured I could fussy cut a butterfly from it.

Bright in flight.

Seeing how the first placemat was more for a girl I thought I had better pick a boy appropriate animal for the next one – the lion won.

Beautifully regal.

After stitching the appliqué down with black thread I added a couple of buttons to the lion for eyes.  Now I stitched my animals down prior to sandwiching my layers together but if you preferred the stitching could be done as part of the quilting.  Next step quilting.  I used a free motion stipple in the background around the animals with a matching thread and then did straight stitch for all other quilting to outline the blocks and stars.  I used one of my favourite variegated threads, King Tut, for the quilting.

Quilting complete and binding on. (Click to see a larger image)

They are so cute I bet you want to make them.  Join me at The Academy of Quilting to make these cute placemats and the quilt that will brighten any child’s day.

This placemat pattern is a bonus pattern to my class “Zoo Friends” which is based on the best selling pattern “Animal Party”.

Zoo Friends (click for a larger image)

Not only will you get the bonus placemat pattern but if you enrol for my class “Zoo Friends” you will also receive Ruth’s bib pattern free.

All of these would make a great gift for a special little one to enjoy.

And back to the maple syrup – wouldn’t it be great to eat your bowl of ice cream or plate of pancakes all smothered in maple syrup of course off one of these great little placemats!